What is Oxfam Festival Volunteering?
Oxfam Festival volunteering is a fantastic way to attend your favourite festivals, see some amazing acts and make new friends, all while supporting Oxfam's work to end extreme poverty around the world.
Stewards are required to work three eight and a quarter hour shifts with the exception of 2000 Trees and ArcTanGent which have only two shifts.
Stewards provide directions to the festival-going public, check wristbands, or patrol campsites and arenas.
You will be provided with training, a dedicated campsite ‘the Oxfield’ with access to showers and toilets, 24/7 hot water and meal tickets.
You are supporting the festival with the smooth running of the event. In return for providing volunteers to a festival, Oxfam receives funds that help us in our work fighting against poverty.
How old do I need to be?
To volunteer at a festival with Oxfam you must be 18 on the day you are required to arrive on site for your first festival. We also welcome older and more experienced individuals. It’s great to have a variety of skills and to learn from each other while enjoying the festival together.
Do you cater for medical and accessibility requirements?
Oxfam festival volunteering opportunities are open to everyone. We aim to create an environment that realises, challenges and utilises everyone's skills.
More information on medical and accessibility requirements.
I am not from the UK. Can I volunteer?
If you are from the Common Travel Area (UK, Republic of Ireland, Isle of Man), are an EU/EEA citizen holding Settled or Pre-Settled Status, have European Temporary Right to Remain, or have a Working Holiday Visa, you have the right to volunteer in the UK. If you hold a different visa or immigration status, you need to check if you have the right to volunteer before applying.
UK immigration rules allow visitors from the EU to undertake volunteering provided it lasts no longer than 30 days in total. We are unable to support volunteer visas.
Can I bring my children with me?
Some of our family-friendly festivals will allow children to attend. However, the rules for bringing children while you volunteer may differ to the festival’s rules for the public so please do check our festival specific pages first to see if we can accept children onsite.
In most cases a child ticket is required, you will need to confirm this yourself, and if required, purchase the ticket via the festival's website directly.
Each adult volunteer steward can bring two children under the age of 13, but you need to ensure there is a designated adult to supervise them when you are on shift.
In addition, you can bring up to two children between the ages of 13-18 to camp in the volunteers' area with you.
If you have purchased the relevant tickets and would like to bring your children, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will provide you with the child form to complete.
Information required includes a photo for their ID card, an emergency contact number and the name of the individual who will be looking after the children while you are on shift. A new form will need to be completed for each additional festival you apply for.
What kit do I need to bring with me?
You will need to provide your own camping equipment such as tent, airbed and sleeping bag.
At festivals where we have our own caterers you will also need to bring a plate and eating utensils.
Always bring a mug (if you don’t have one you won’t get a hot drink from the tea buggy whilst on shift) and a reusable water bottle to keep yourself hydrated.
Make sure you have clothes suitable for both extremes of weather. We recommend always bringing a raincoat, wellington boots and a warm jumper as well as a sunhat and sunscreen. We can provide legionnaires caps, emergency ponchos, earplugs and sun cream if needed.
Essentially, be prepared for the best and the worst weather during the same shift. And bring spare socks! Remember if you're on a shift that starts at 2pm, it may be very cold by 10pm when it finishes.
Bring some good footwear. You need good solid shoes, boots or wellies to wear on shift, as flip flops, open toed shoes and high heels are prohibited.
Please check the individual festival's website for detailed information regarding restricted items, fires and BBQ’s. The use of gazebos is usually permitted but we do sometimes have limited space in our campsite so please be prepared to take it down if asked.
Caterers may not be open when you arrive on site, bring food and drink to keep you going before the festival starts and you are able to use your meal vouchers. Noodles, and cereal bars are ideal.
My friends are camped in the public area. Can I join them?
I am afraid not. Space is limited at all festivals and allocated based on how many tickets the festivals have sold. In addition, we need to ensure your welfare while volunteering. Our insurance does not cover you staying outside the designated Oxfam area. So, if anything were to happen to you, we wouldn’t be able to help! You can of course go and visit them when you are not on shift.
Can I bring a live-in vehicle (motorhome/caravan)?
Yes, but places are limited. You must tell us on the Transport section of your profile, and your vehicle must meet a certain standard to be allowed in. To count as a live-in, your vehicle must have purpose-built sleeping facilities, and either fitted cooking or washing facilities.
Any converted vehicles must clearly be live-in vehicles. A van with a mattress in the back, or any setup based on a normal car will not be considered a live-in and will have to stay in the carpark, and cannot be used to sleep in.
Once sited, your live-in must remain static for the duration of the show, to minimise unnecessary vehicle movement in our campsite. If you leave site in your vehicle you may not be allowed back in.
If I bring a live-in vehicle, how much space do I get?
As more and more people bring vans, space is getting very tight. It is unlikely that you will be able to pitch an awning, so please pack accordingly. If it is possible to put an awning out, it must be purpose-made for use with a vehicle. Setting up regular tents of any kind in the live-in area is not permitted, due to fire safety regulations.
If I bring a live-in vehicle, can I camp with my friends?
If your friends are in tents, then no. To comply with fire regulations, we have separate areas in our campsite for live-ins and tents, divided by fire lanes. If your friends are also bringing live-in vehicles, then you should aim to arrive together (driving in convoy is fun!) because we site live-in vehicles in the order they arrive (spaces will not be saved).
Do you provide transport to the festival?
Usually no, you will need to arrange your own travel to the festival.
It is important to tell us during sign-up how you intend to travel as some festivals will require you to be sent a car, caravan or campervan pass in advance.
We do run buses to Glastonbury which run from Temple Meads Train Station in Bristol. The cost of using these is £33 (which includes arrival and return journey), which is deducted from your deposit. You can choose which bus you would like to use via the application form.
Please note, if you only wish to use the bus one way, the charge remains the same.
We also run a free shuttle car to WOMAD which runs from Kemble Railway Station.
For the Isle of Wight Festival we offer a free Foot Passenger only ferry, and shuttle, from Southampton to the festival site, which can be booked on your application when you apply. These can be subject to delays so we recommend booking an open return railway ticket if you are travelling by train.
Need a lift? We encourage the use of the liftshare scheme which enables you to search for and offer lifts exclusively to other Oxfam volunteers.
Travelling alone? Don’t worry – making new friends is easy and you’ll be joining a friendly team who will welcome you into the ‘Oxfamily’.
What happens if I breach the Terms of Reference that I have signed up to?
We hope you have an enjoyable and safe time at your chosen festival. We want you to have fun and fully embrace all that the festival has to offer, however we do ask that you party responsibly and abide by our terms of reference to ensure the safety of you, your fellow volunteers and the public and staff while on-site. You are representing Oxfam and as such, need to behave in an appropriate manner.
Any breach, such as absconding, not turning up to a shift or unruly behaviour will not be tolerated and will mean that you will be evicted from site. You will forfeit your deposit and will be banned from volunteering at festivals again so please do be aware of your responsibilities while volunteering with Oxfam.
ALL FESTIVALS ENFORCE A NO DRUGS POLICY. Anyone caught with illegal or banned substances will be dealt with in line with our terms of reference and drugs policy.
Your safety and welfare while on-site are paramount to us. If you are unable to turn up for your shifts for whatever reason, please do come and speak to us. We are there to help and can often rearrange your shifts for you so that you do not risk losing your deposit.
How do I apply?
I’m up for it! How and when do I sign up?
You can sign up for an account right now, in preparation for when applications open. You can also register your interest to receive an email informing you of the exact date when we announce it.
- Click on the Sign up button on the website or if you have already signed up, the Log in button.
- When applications open, choose your festival(s) and pay the deposit. Your place is then confirmed.
- Although your place is confirmed, we can only accept you onsite after you have completed each section of your profile and after you have attended a training session (if required).
- Failure to complete your profile, may mean that your place is cancelled and you will forfeit your deposit, so do not delay!
Please note, everyone will need a unique email address to sign up.
Do I have to pay a deposit?
To sign-up you will need to provide a one-off refundable deposit.
This is equal to the price of the highest festival ticket and is a bond to ensure that volunteers attend and complete their required responsibilities on site.
One deposit carries you across all the festivals under or equal to that deposit price. If you know you want to sign-up to more than one festival, we recommend that you choose the one with the highest deposit first.
Your deposit will be returned to you 4 weeks after your last festival with us. This may be extended up to 6 weeks for the larger festivals such as Glastonbury or after the August bank holiday weekend.
The return of your deposit relies on you having attended all your shifts satisfactorily. This includes being on time and returning your tabard when you have finished your last shift.
Your deposit will be paid directly back to the card you used to pay your deposit. If you change banks or credit card companies – please get in touch in plenty of time before your refund is due, so that we can make alternative arrangements to return your money.
If you have had to cancel your volunteering place early, your deposit will be paid back (minus any fees) within a week of canceling, or 4/6 weeks after your last festival if you have completed other festivals/have more to go.
Depending on your bank’s processes it can then take up to 10 working days from the refund being issued, to it showing in your account.
I can no longer make it; how do I cancel my place?
We do hope that you will not need to cancel your place but if you do, you may do so within the 'cooling off' period of seven days at no charge.
Each festival has a 'cancellation deadline' which is 6 weeks, or 8 weeks for Glastonbury, before you are expected on-site. If you cancel a festival after its cancellation deadline, you may forfeit your deposit.
If you do need to cancel your place, the admin fees below will apply:
Cancelling any number of festivals within 7 days of signing up: No admin fee
Cancelling a place at a festival before the cancellation deadline is £20 per festival. (You will not be charged any more than £60 if cancelling more than three)
Cancelling after 6-week deadline but have already successfully attended one or more festivals: Lose half of the deposit.
Cancel after deadline with no valid reason: Lose all the deposit.
Cancel after deadline with a valid reason and you can provide evidence: £20.
To cancel - please email us with 'CANCEL' along with the name of the Festival(s) you are cancelling in the 'Subject line' to email@example.com. In the email please confirm your name, the Festival(s) you wish to cancel, and if cancelling after the deadline - please also let us know the reason.
You will get a reply within 2 working days confirming that your cancellation has been processed. If you do not receive this confirmation, you should phone us on 0300 200 1266 (Monday to Friday 9am – 5pm) to confirm that your cancellation has been completed.
Cancelling your place
If you can't make it to your festival due to illness or bereavement, please ensure that you call or email us to let us know as soon as possible.
We will ask for some documentary evidence such as a doctor’s note or order of service. We fully appreciate that your reason for cancelling may be of a sensitive nature and we hope you understand why we do have to ask for evidence. If we do not hear from you, you may be at risk of losing your deposit.
If you have tested positive for COVID, please take a photo of the test result alongside your photographic ID and the date the test was taken, written down on a piece of paper.
If you are unsure as to whether your situation is considered a valid reason, please refer to the terms of reference.
The quickest and most reliable way to get any evidence to us is to take a photo of the document(s) and email it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Changes to your work schedule, holidays and if your friends are no longer able to make it, are not accepted as valid reasons to cancel, so please ensure that any time is booked off and confirmed before applying to avoid disappointment.
Can I transfer my place to someone else?
As part of our commitment to anti-touting efforts, we cannot accommodate requests to change the name on a stewarding place.
It is essential that participants sign up with the genuine intention to volunteer.
If your circumstances change, and you are no longer able to volunteer, we kindly ask that you follow the cancellation process outlined above.
Completing your profile
Why is it so important to complete my profile?
It is a festival requirement that we ask for specific information for safety reasons. You must complete this information to be granted access onto the festival site.
These details include information such as obtaining a satisfactory reference, an emergency contact, travel information and ensuring that you have selected and have attended a training session.
Not completing this information before the six-week cancellation deadline for your first festival could result in you forfeiting your deposit so do not hesitate and ensure you have green ticks against each section of your profile. Please note, that it can take several days for the training section to receive its green tick after completion of your training session while we process the register.
Why do I need to provide a photo of myself?
We require a passport photo for your ID card. Please read these guidelines on providing an acceptable photograph.
The image needs to be in JPEG format with a maximum file size of 5MB. The photo must be in a portrait format. If your photo is deemed unacceptable, we will need to ask you to provide another one, so no selfies please.
Please note some devices save photos in landscape even though they look correct in portrait when saved. Double check by opening the photo first on your laptop or pc. If the photo is the wrong way around, rotate it and save again and it should then allow you to upload it to your application. If you are still having difficulty, we recommend using an online picture generator to help get it in the correct format.
Do I need to provide a reference?
Yes. We require all volunteers to provide a referee each year they apply. As when applying for a job, we would consider a college lecturer, employer, or someone who knows you in a formal capacity to be appropriate, please do not enter the name of a relative or someone who has known you for a short time. Your referee will be emailed, and they will need to confirm these following statements:
I have known this person for over six months.
I am not related to this person.
I can confirm they will be 18 by the time they are due to arrive onsite.
I know them through a professional capacity and have known them to be punctual and reliable.
I believe this person to be honest, responsible and trustworthy in working-with and looking-after others.
What is Priority, and how do I get it?
Priority is the opptunity to apply to steward at festivals with us before we open our applications to the public. It's a great way to make sure you can get a place at our most popular events.
To get priority for festival applications in 2024, you needed to meet one of the following:
- Volunteered with us at 2 or more festivals in 2023 (and at least one of those has to be stewarding).
- Supervised at least once in each of the last 2 years (both 2022 and in 2023).
- Volunteered with us at 7 or more festivals across the last 7 years* (from 2017 to 2023).
*Due to changes in data regulations in May 2018 you will need to ensure that you have opted in to receive communications from us, or volunteered in the last three years to remain active on our database.
Will I receive training?
You must have attended an Oxfam training session in the last four years in order to undertake stewarding at a festival with us.
These sessions are approximately two hours long and will take place online in 2024.
Festival organisers and several local licensing authorities require us to provide event stewards who are trained to a minimum standard.
Dates for these sessions are available on the festival sign-up form.
After you have booked a training session, you will be contacted around 5 days before your training session with specific details and the necessary link. If you have not received this information, please get in touch in plenty of time and we will resend these to you.
Spaces are limited so if you do not attend your chosen training session, an admin fee of £20 will be applicable, so please do notify us if you are unable to attend for any reason.
I can longer make my chosen training session; how do I swap to an alternative?
If you need to change your training session, please contact us as soon as possible via email@example.com with your chosen date and venue. Please note an admin charge of £20 will be applied if the change is within 24 hours of your current session or if you do not notify us of the cancellation.
I’m interested in supervising. What does this involve?
Supervisors are Oxfam volunteers who look after the Oxfam stewards in a specific area. A supervisor’s role is to ensure the stewards are safe, happy, and fulfilling their roles. They also organise the steward’s breaks and shift changes and use the radio to report any incidents that arise. The area they cover may be a single busy location such as a gate or venue, or it could be a larger area like a campsite or arena. These roles are crucial to the effective running of our operation on site and the role is very rewarding.
If you are interested in supervising, you can tick the ‘interested in supervising’ box when you sign up. You will be asked to provide a little bit of information about your experience, which allows us to allocate roles appropriately.
Please note ticking the box does not guarantee you will be allocated a supervisory role, as we often have more people interested in supervising than we need.
To ensure you are fully equipped to supervise, we may run a separate training session for anyone who would like to be a supervisor. This is in addition to the general training which you will still need to attend and is not compulsory, but attendance will improve your chances of obtaining a supervisor role. If you select the supervisor box in your sign-up, we will be in contact to let you know if a training is taking place closer to the time.
Arrival and travel information
What day do I need to arrive at my festival?
You can check the arrival dates for our festivals on our website. Please check here rather than the public dates on the festival’s own website!
When you apply, you will be asked to confirm to your availability for these dates, and we will remind you again by email a couple of weeks before the festival.
This email will also let you know the exact times on that day that our arrival and registration will be open.
What is the 'Pre-Festival' or 'Early' shift?
At some festivals we have a small number of stewarding roles which start earlier than the usual volunteer arrival dates as shown on our website.
If you can arrive early and want to be considered for these roles, tick the ‘pre- festival shift’ box on your application. This box will let you know what date you would need to be available from.
Please note, we get a lot of Early Shift requests for very few roles, so ticking the box is no guarantee you’ll be allocated one!
We select who is on the early shift a few weeks before the festival, and you’ll find out if you’ve been selected when you receive your arrival information email.
This does mean that if you are allocated an early shift, you’ll need to be flexible with your travel arrangements.
What do I need to do when I arrive?
Once you arrive you need to find somewhere to pitch your tent, and you need to register with us. Registration usually takes place in our campsite marquee, but instructions will be clearly shown when you arrive.
Our campsite is normally close to our car park, so no more long trips with heavy bags!
How do I register?
The registration location will be clearly marked and usually takes place in the Oxfam marquee.
This is when you will collect your shift times & location(s), tabard, meal tokens, site maps etc.
Onsite briefing times and locations will be confirmed at this time too.
You will need:
- Accepted Photo ID: Photo card driving license or Provisional Photo driving license, Passport, expired Passport (providing the picture still looks like you!), Student ID card, SIA card, Proof of Age card (issued by the Police), NHS staff card, Emergency Services staff card, Civil Service ID, Military ID, European (government issued) ID card, European photo card Driving License.
- Your arrival email (printed out or on your phone) – This is usually sent out a week or two before the festival and details when and where you need to arrive at the festival.
What are the on-site briefings?
On-site briefing sessions ensure you have all the information you need about the festival and your role - they are not a training session. The briefing will cover important specific to that event, such as ticketing systems, lost child procedures and catering arrangements.
It is essential for all stewards to attend an onsite briefing prior to starting your shifts, even if you have stewarded with us before or attended a training session.
Details of your briefing time will be available when you arrive, at Registration.
If you have been allocated a supervisory or shift leading role, you may need to attend extra briefings.
My shifts clash with my favourite act. Can I swap my shifts?
Yes, you can!
There will be a Shift Swap whiteboard in the marquee. You put up what shift(s) you are offering, what you would like, your name and contact number. When you have someone to swap with you both need to bring your shift sheets to the Oxbox or Adbox (depending on the festival) so that the swap can be made official.
Do not swap shifts without confirming them with the Oxbox/Adbox.
It could cause problems with the return of your deposit if the person you swap with does not turn up for shift and it’s your name on the supervisor’s sign in sheet.
Please note, at Glastonbury all three shifts must be swapped.
Can I steward the same shifts as my friends?
Yes! You can add up to 6 friends to be shift partners with you when signing up. We will always try our best to make sure you are on shift at the same times as your shift partners, however, we can't guarantee your positions will be based in the same location.
Please arrange your shift partner group when signing up – making sure you have all your shift partner's full names and dates of birth ready for when you complete your sign-up.
Please note, we cannot accept any changes six weeks before your chosen festival so ensure you have your group finalised before this date. If you are applying within this six-week window, you have a 24-hour window where you can submit your shift partners.
When will I be able to leave the festival?
You may leave as soon as you have completed your final shift, handed your tabard back in and signed out. You will receive your shifts when you register upon arrival at the festival. If you tick the box to say that you are available for the "late shift" or "Monday shift" you may be required up until 6pm on the Monday after the festival, however this does vary between festivals.